It might have happened to you before, when you have tried a new type of skincare product and after a while make your skin become red and irritated. Well, if the answer is yes than you have experienced contact dermatitis. Read on to know more about this skin condition, which occurs when foreign substances causes itchiness, redness, inflammation, etc.
It was last week, when I woke up in the morning with a painful rash on my hands, neck and back. It was itching severely; my husband put some cortisone cream to relieve itchiness and redness. However, the problem reoccurred and I was again in a fix after two three hours. Thus, I visited the nearby hospital where I stated my problem to the allergist available there. She asked me so many questions regarding my diet, routine, etc. Then she asked me whether I came across some kind of new skincare or any other products, which has a strong chemical formulation. And I remembered the new liquid soap, which I brought home last day and used it in evening. She recognized the problem. On reaching home, I checked the label, it was labeled ‘scented’. It was the reason behind my severe pain.
This is what Jennie, 28 experienced. But, she is not the only one to go through such situations. A number of people suffer from such skin conditions, known as dermatitis.
What is contact dermatitis?
Basically, contact dermatitis as skin condition which causes your skin to be red and itchy rashes occur when an unusual substance (chemical) comes into contact with your skin. While other skin problems like scabies are contagious or life-threatening, but this is not. Yes, it can be very painful. Usually, it happens because of daily use products, including fragrances, jewelry, soaps, cosmetics and sometime plants.
It is of two types:
Irritant contact dermatitis: It is very common and happens when the sufferer touches something to which their skin is highly sensitive.
Allergic contact dermatitis: Another type which is found in people who are allergic to something. Allergies can be to some specific detergents, cosmetics, latex or anything else.
There is one more type. But it is very uncommon, photocontact dermatitis. It happens due to a reaction that occurs when the active ingredients of your sunscreen are exposed to direct sunlight, causing rashes all over.
What are the signs and symptoms of dermatitis?
The biggest problem with dermatitis is that it is often confused with other skin diseases which cause itching. Along this, it becomes very hard to differentiate between irritant and allergic contact dermatitis. Though the symptoms are almost similar, yet the difference lies between the duration and consequences.
As far as the symptoms are considered, they can range from mild to severe. Here is a list:
- Itching and rash
- Redness and swelling
- Warm or hot to the touch
- Itchy bumps or blisters that may ooze fluid
- Cracking or peeling of the skin
What causes dermatitis?
The reasons for dermatitis vary from person to person. The common causes for both irritant and allergen type includes:
- Harmful cosmetics
- Hair coloring
- Soaps and cleaning products
- Medicines, especially antibiotic creams
- Fragrances and perfumes in daily use products like deodorants, body creams, soaps, fabric softeners, cosmetics, tissues, toilet paper, etc.
- Various nail care products, like nail polish, nail hardeners and artificial nails.
- Dye used in fur, leather products and even clothing.
- Latex, it is used highly in waistbands, bras, plastic gloves, toys and balloons.
- Nickel, it is common in jewelry, buttons, zippers, and kitchen utensils.
- Poison ivy and other plants
Well, the most difficult thing is to find out the reason for dermatitis.
How to check for contact dermatitis?
It is advisable to go to an allergist for proper check- up. They will review your entire medical history. Be ready to answer the following questions:
- Where you were and what were you doing in the past 24-48 hours?
- Which products have been using like your soap, shampoo and other cleaning products?
- Have you ever gone through similar rashes before?
After this, they might refer you some physical examination and lab tests.
Once, they are done with the above tasks, the allergists will tell you to stay away from the things that caused your rash. You can also go for complete allergy skin testing to find out what all your skin is allergic to.
Make sure you follow the instructions carefully!